By Jeffrey Westhoff comp:000049183ad5:000000023d:5016 /__uuid/25603e22-ab79-4681-bf39-14e1a4f0c421/killingthemsoftly.jpg new
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“Killing Them Softly”

R for violence, sexual references, pervasive language and some drug use
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Who’s in it: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini

What it’s about: After two dimwitted hoods rob a mob-sanctioned poker game, an out-of-town enforcer (Pitt) is called in to hunt them down and restore the local underworld economy.

Verdict: Writer-director Andrew Dominik (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) begins with the Quentin Tarantino template of talkative, philosophical hit men and tries to expand it into a parable about America’s economic meltdown in the fall of 2008. The metaphors are too obvious (the poker game represents Wall Street), and frequent cutaways to speeches from then-President Bush and then-candidate Obama push the political cynicism too hard. Pitt leads a strong cast, but if all the scenes of self-pitying dialogue were eliminated, the movie would be 30 minutes long.